The Trumpet Herald
Giving the trumpet a certain sound
While it seems politically incorrect in the western world to dwell much on the religious angles of the present conflict between the United States and its allies against the Taliban government of Afganistan and Osama Bin Laden and his organization, we note that Bin Laden appears to be appealing to this motivation to gain support of Muslims worldwide. Consider the implications of this report from MSNBC:
"Islamic religious and community leaders say attacks during the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, beginning in mid-November, would be unacceptable and would trigger big and potentially violent protests among the world’s billion Muslims.
"Moderate Muslim countries would not stand this," Niti Hasan, secretary-general of the Council of Muslim Organizations of Thailand" ("Pakistan Struggles to Contain Protests" Oct 23, 2001).
Those of us in the western world would rather not have to think about the prospect of a world religious movement devoted in part to the forced conversion or violent destruction of all other religions. Given the large numbers of Muslims (although split into factions) and the apparent dedication of many of them, could freedom of religion survive anywhere in the world?
Samuele Bacchiocchi, retired church historian, commented in a recent e-mail newsletter:
"Everywhere there are Moslems extremists who accept at face value the teachings of the Koran about the suppression of those who oppose Islam. They are known as ‘Moslem fundamentalists.’ This means that the problem of Moslem terrorism cannot be resolved without first striking at its roots by exposing the immorality, shamefulness, and senselessness of its teachings about the extermination of infidels" ("Endtime Issues No 75", Oct. 16, 2001).
Of course it will readily be remembered that Jesus predicted wars and rumors of wars before the His physical return to earth.
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. . . . And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:4-9, 14).
Notice that in addition to the apparent increase in war activity, the persecution of Christians is mentioned. This seems to be happening today in certain areas of the world where militant non-Christian forces are active. But it is the preaching of the gospel to the world that seems to immediately precede the end.
If the U.S. wins this round in the wars of the world, the receptivity of the common people of the Islamic world may become more open to the gospel than they have been in recent history. One recalls the record of Japan following their defeat in World War II and occupational government.
Doug Phillips, president and founder of The Vision Forum, Inc. wrote recently about his trip to Japan in the spring of this year:
"Incredibly, wherever we traveled we met with scores of men and women who thanked us for General MacArthur and his conquest. Why? Because with MacArthur’s victory came the Gospel and the end of the stranglehold of the Shinto faith over the people of Japan.
"One man (who looked like the ancient of days) approached me. With deep emotion this octogenarian told me that he had converted to Christ in 1947 because MacArthur sent missionaries to his village. He smiled a big toothless smile when he told me that today his grandchildren were home schooling for the glory of God. Incredible!" (The Price of Freedom (The Vision Forum Catalog, 2002), p. 2, 3).
Besides the big disease story of the terrorist attacks in the U.S.A. using anthrax, which at the time of this writing was still developing (and which may turn out to be related to the previous item), news sources noted problems with AIDS and "mad cow" disease.
The Associated Press reported on Oct. 4 that HIV/AIDS is spreading rapidly in Asia:
"After more than a decade of relatively low rates of infection, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has begun spreading rapidly through Asia and the Pacific region, according to a report released Thursday.
"The rise, in some of the world's most populated countries, is mostly in high risk groups, such as intravenous drug users, sex workers and gay men, the report said.
"The study, conducted by the Monitoring the AIDS Pandemic Network and commissioned by the United Nations, was released ahead of the 6th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, which starts Friday in Melbourne" (The Wire (Associated Press on the Internet)).
Another report gives cause for concern on the "mad cow" disease situation:
"At least 1,500 commercial elk are being destroyed in Colorado and other states to stop a fatal disease that threatens to spread to wild deer and elk.
Mentioning that the number could grow, a Colorado State Agriculture spokesman mentioned 245 elk shipped to 15 other states from quarantined ranches.
"Recognized in 1967, chronic wasting disease causes animals to grow thin and die. It comes from the same family as mad cow disease but is not known to be transmissible to humans. There is no known cure or treatment. And the only way to determine for certain that an animal is infected is to kill it and examine its brain.
"The disease exists in the wild in the United States, but only in a single swath in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. Investigators believe it somehow spread from the wild to the ranch-raised animals. . . .
"Truong said the carcasses will be destroyed using burners designed for use with diseased animals. The devices blow superheated air over the carcasses" (The Wire from Associated Press, Oct. 18, 2001).
Is it necessary to suggest that perhaps the scientists will yet discover that this disease is indeed transmissible to humans?
It seems apparent that AIDS increases because of the sinfulness of man. Also it is evident that the animal creation shares in suffering partly due at least to activities of humans. Inspiration has commented:
". . . disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse our earth" (Testimonies, v. 7, p. 135).